Stephen O'Keefe is on track to make a stunning comeback from injury when the decimated Sydney Sixers battle for a lucrative Champions League berth at the SCG on Wednesday.
O'Keefe still has his arm in a sling after dislocating his right shoulder two weeks ago, but the 29-year-old left-arm spinner temporarily broke from his shackles on Monday to bowl in the nets.
He has now announced himself as a strong chance for the high-stakes Big Bash League semi-final against arch-rivals Perth Scorchers.
Winning through to the Big Bash final means automatic entry to the Champions League T20 in South Africa later in the year, a tournament the Sixers won in 2012.
"(O'Keefe's) a quality spinner. He's taken a lot of wickets this year in all three formats so hopefully ... he can get up for the game on Wednesday," said Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who will spearhead the Sixers attack.
Sydney will start favourites at home, but with a host of stars either in South Africa or on the injury list, they must bank on England batsmen Michael Lumb and Ravi Bopara to put international disappointment behind them and thwart the Scorchers sizzling bowling attack.
"I think they'll be fine, they're pulling on a magenta shirt not a blue one," joked Starc.
Missing from the Sixers line-up are Test squad members Steve Smith, Moises Henriques, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon and Jordan Silk (injury), although Perth will also be without classy death bowler Yasir Arafat.
The Sixers will field a dynamic pace attack, with Starc, Brett Lee and Josh Hazlewood rivalling the Scorchers' arsenal which is led by NSW's own Pat Cummins.
Sydney defeated Perth in the inaugural BBL final, but with skippers Smith and Henriques on Test duty in South Africa, they must appoint a new captain and fire with the bat if they're to progress through to their second final in three years.
"There's not many of us left standing at the moment ... the names (of those missing) speak for themselves," said Starc.
"The batting line-ups have got some challenges ahead with the shortage of numbers ... but we'll focus on our strengths.
"We've got a good mix of youth and experience with guys like Brett Lee and Marcus North.
"(Champions League) is the pinnacle in Twenty20 cricket."